On Thursday Gerry Brownlee finally released his over-promised revised New Zealand Energy Strategy and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy. Basically he’s taken two heavyweight strategies put in place by the previous Labour government, both of which were well-informed by evidence and soundly argued, and replaced them with a single, lightweight missive that’s full of contradictions.
Brownlee’s revised strategy places a lot of emphasis on extracting more non-renewables such as coal and gas, whilst at the same time committing to Labour’s goal of 90 percent renewable electricity generation by 2025. In the case of gas, explorers will be looking for a viable domestic market before they go drilling wells, the most likely being gas-fired power plants. How that squares with a target for greater renewable electricity is a mystery to everyone but Mr Brownlee.
Questioned on the lightweight nature of the new document, Brownlee argues detailed plans become ‘quickly out of date’. I guess that’s a telling commentary on the National government’s modus operandi. I wonder whether the draft strategy had to be re-printed at the last minute to accommodate National’s humiliating about-face on mining in National Parks?
After reading through the new draft my question for Gerry Brownlee is pretty simple: Where’s the plan? Aspirational goals are all very well (and the plan is light even on those) but if you have no idea how you’re going to achieve them they’re pretty meaningless.